High winds across Southern California over the past two days have triggered warnings from weather authorities, halted traffic and caused at least one hospitalization due to a falling light pole.
Some Disneyland guests were injured, including one hospitalized, when high winds toppled a lamp post near the entrance to the Anaheim theme park Monday morning, according to the Anaheim Fire Department.
Just before 8:30 a.m., Anaheim firefighters responded to a call on Main Street USA regarding a light pole falling on three park visitors. Emergency services treated the injured.
One patient was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries; the others were slightly injured.
Several high wind warnings are currently in effect, including one issued between 6 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. Tuesday for the inland areas of Anaheim, Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Irvine, Mission Viejo and Fullerton.
Santa Ana winds are expected to reach 30 to 40 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph, according to meteorologists.
Weather officials warn that people should avoid wooded areas, stay in the lower levels of their homes and avoid windows.
Another strong wind warning was in effect until 3 p.m. for the Santa Clarita and western San Fernando valleys, as northeast winds reach 25 to 40 mph with gusts up to 65 mph.
“We basically saw the peak of the winds this morning, and they stay pretty strong into the afternoon,” said David Gomberg, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
Although many areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties experienced winds between 60 and 80 mph, a sensor in the San Gabriel Mountains, east of Santa Clarita, recorded a gust of 130 mph.
The Magic Mountain Trail, where the sensor is located, is “one of our most notable places,” Gomberg said. “It’s still at the top of the wind scale.”
Winds “will remain quite strong” through tomorrow, with slightly reduced speeds, he said. Instead of 60 to 80 mph in the mountains, weather services expect winds between 50 and 60 mph, and 35 to 50 mph for coastal areas and valleys.
“The most dangerous driving conditions are those operating large vehicles,” Gomberg warned. “We’ve already seen a few big trucks roll over today.”
On Interstate 15 near the Nevada border, winds blowing dust caused visibility problems for drivers, leading to a traffic stoppage Sunday, ABC7 reported. An overturned vehicle also caused a closure Monday afternoon on I-15 in Riverside County, according to Caltrans.
Drivers should also be wary of downed power lines, tree branches and other obstacles. “There can be dangers on the roads,” Gomberg said.
The weather service also forecast “elevated fire weather conditions” Monday and Tuesday and noted that one fire in Corona, the Sierra Fire, had already started, Gomberg said.
“We don’t expect a wake-up call” because the fuels aren’t as dry as in the past, he said, but high winds remain a concern.
While Southern California experienced high winds, Northern California saw significant precipitation and nearly a foot of snow over the weekend, according to SFGATE.
Los Angeles Times